Negotiation The Business of Healthcare

Showing Up On Time and Negotiation

February 19, 2024

A friend told me about his old boss, a guy who thought he was sending a message of his own importance by showing up late to meetings with his clients.

With one caveat, which I’ll discuss below, showing up on time in business is vital.

For physician group leaders, that means showing up on time to meet, in person or remotely, with hospital administrators, to meet with potential deal partners, to meet with your bankers, and so on. Especially if what you’re showing up to is a negotiation.

And, by the way, every exchange, verbal and non-verbal with someone with whom you do, or will, deal, is a negotiation whether you acknowledge it or not: your “opposite” is receiving a message even if you didn’t intend on conveying it.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that being late signals your importance or your power.

Everyone else thinks that they’re more important than you. So instead of playing to your ego, play to theirs. Let them feel that they are the most important person in the room, the most important person in the negotiation.

I’m not saying that you want to cave to their position in the negotiation. To the contrary, I’m saying that showing up on time is a courtesy that you demonstrate. It removes the negative that’s created by what the other party will see as rudeness. Then you can continue to implement your plan of world domination.

The only caveat is when you are using lateness to signal that you might not want the deal at all. Use that tactic carefully, as the risk is that you will need to deal with the other side in the future, when they may not want you at all.

Oh, my friend and his old boss? That’s how my friend got started in business. He launched his own firm simply by showing up on time to meet with the clients of his old boss.

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